Gerard Gallant reunites ‘Kid Line’ by Chytil, Kakko and Lafreniere

Gerard Gallant reunites ‘Kid Line’ by Chytil, Kakko and Lafreniere

GREENBURGH, NY — There’s no question of fixing something that ain’t broke.

Rather, it presented an opportunity to examine whether a unit that performed well in last year’s playoffs can once again provide a spark to a team stuck in a three-game skid.

Gerard Gallant reunited the Rangers’ Kid Line of Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko during Wednesday’s practice at the MSG Training Center before leaving for a trip to Detroit and Nashville.

β€œThe kids played really well together last year,” Gallant said. “So we’re giving it another shot.”

It couldn’t hurt.

The triumvirate skated together as a line in 17 of the Blueshirts’ 20 playoff games last spring and, according to data obtained from analytics site MoneyPuck.com, registered 10 goals, 142 total shot attempts and 115 unblocked shots against five goals allowed , 101 unblocked shots against, and 121 total shot attempts against.

It was expected that the trio would remain intact this season, but injuries and lineup changes had forced Gallant to put those plans on hold. Chytil missed six games with an upper-body injury after appearing to be elbowed in the head by Columbus’ Cole Sillinger on Oct. 23.

Chytil returned to the lineup for Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Red Wings in the regular season opener for the Original Six rivals, and the teams will meet for a rematch Thursday at Little Caesars Arena.

“Play a solid road game,” was Braden Schneider’s assessment of what the Rangers need to do to snap their three-game slide. “Play fast, play hard, play easy and play our game.”

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Chytil wasn’t the only talented striker sidelined by injury. Vitali Kravtsov has only played in five of Rangers’ 14 games this season. He was injured in the season-opening win against Tampa Bay after Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman rode him into the boards, and he later suffered undisclosed upper-body injuries against Colorado and Dallas.

Without the second-line right wing, Gallant had to reconfigure his top two lines. Kakko saw time on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider this season, while Lafrienere skated with Vincent Trocheck and Artemi Panarin.

But with a nearly full roster at practice β€” Jacob Trouba had a maintenance day β€” Gallant and the coaching staff had Jimmy Vesey join Zibanejad and Kreider on the top line; Kravtsov was reunited with Panarin and Trocheck; the reformed Kid Line with Ryan Reaves rotating in; and a fourth line of Sammy Blais, Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Carpenter.

“Sat down in the coaching room with the coaches and we liked what we (put together),” Gallant said. “Gives us a little more depth on every line.”

So it looks like the Rangers will be at full strength up front. And their defensive corps could be bolstered by the return of Ryan Lindgren, who participated in practice after missing the losses to the Red Wings Sunday and the Islanders Wednesday night with an upper-body injury suffered in the 5-2 loss to the Bruins on Nov. 3.

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